In the event of a zombie apocalypse, it would be wise to have a plan in place. Perhaps most importantly, who would be on your team? We’ve picked our preferred partners—magical powers are allowed, but no dragons, bears or mythical beasts!
Edmond Dantès from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
I have long resigned myself to my own lack of apocalypse survival skills. I can’t run without getting winded. I don’t have combat skills. I can’t farm or dress wounds or build shelter or tools. In truth, I would be among the first to go—unless I aligned myself with someone wealthy and powerful. Edmond Dantès is the perfect choice: rich, scrappy and weirdly fixated on avenging himself against those who have wronged him. We could quite comfortably wait out the apocalypse from inside his château. And if that fails, the man owns his own island. Everybody knows zombies can’t swim, so a quick yacht ride to the Island of Monte Cristo would solve our little army-of-the-undead problem.
—Christy, Associate Editor
Sabriel from Sabriel by Garth Nix
Like many of my colleagues, my talents are perhaps better suited to rebuilding the world after the zombie apocalypse than surviving it in the first place. That’s why I need someone like Sabriel on my team, and not only because she possesses a bandoleer of seven magical bells with the power to send the dead back through the nine gates of death to their final rest, although I acknowledge that will come in handy. But Sabriel is also resourceful, adept at other forms of magic, brave and kind. As we make our way to a population-sparse area like—ha, as if I’d tell you my plans—I know she’ll leave me behind only if she absolutely has to, and if I get bitten, she’ll make my death swift and ensure I stay dead.
—Stephanie, Associate Editor
Frank Mackey from Faithful Place by Tana French
My biggest fear wouldn’t be zombies, as they are usually stupid. I’m more afraid of humans in a crisis, as they are, historically, the worst. And that’s why I want Irish undercover cop Frank Mackey on my team. First introduced in Tana French’s The Likeness, Frank becomes the central character in Faithful Place, which puts his ability to pursue multiple, sometimes conflicting objectives—while manipulating almost everyone around him—to the hardest test, as he has to do it to his own dysfunctional family. If he can do that and emerge (somewhat) in one piece, he’d easily survive the human chaos of an apocalypse. Frank is also funny as hell, so we’d have some laughs while trying not to die.
—Savanna, Associate Editor
Vasya from The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
To give myself a real shot at living through this, I need a partner with knowledge of mythical and otherworldly situations, as well as the powers to match—and I need her to live in the middle of nowhere. In Katherine Arden’s debut novel, headstrong young Vasya is an heir to old magic and has the abilities to protect her family from dangers that are plucked straight out of folklore. She’s got a great attitude—which I’ll appreciate when I get upset about the situation—and she excels at riding horses and saving people, so we’ll get along great. We’ll treat the apocalypse like it’s a long winter night, hidden away so deeply in the wilderness of northern Russia that we might not even notice when the end of the world is over.
—Cat, Deputy Editor
Captain Woodrow F. Call from Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Genre-bending is prominent in today’s cultural landscape. From rock with hip-hop beats to Mexican-Korean fusion, the lines have dissolved. All of these hybrids make me think that a cowboy would feel right at home in the zombie apocalypse, and Captain Woodrow F. Call—brave, strong, levelheaded and loyal to the bone—is the paragon of cowboy-ness. Take, for example, when Call saves Newt, the youngest member of the Hat Creek Outfit, from a soldier harassing him. Call beats the man to a pulp until Gus McCrae has to lasso him off. The only explanation Call offers for this violent outburst: “I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.” Just imagine what the man would do to a zombie!
—Eric, Editorial Intern